Notes: Although it has a stellar record in terms of vehicle problems, initially the 4th generation (2003 - 2009) 4Runner didn't earn our top "Seal of Awesome" rating because it received poor crash test ratings for rear impacts. However it's proven to have one of the lowest driver death rates out of all vehicles (not just SUVs), so we've bumped it back up to our top award.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,100 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Toyota 4Runner exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #4

Dec 182007

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


Toyota 4-runner 2003 six cylinder. Excessive sulfur dioxide odor. No events leading up to failure. Sporadic. Dealerships gave me a hard time, wanted $150 to run test even though Toyota headquarters informed me that the dealer should just replace parts, so I never have had it fixed but I am concerned. I changed gas stations numerous times and still receive the odor. Odor comes and goes and can be strong at times especially in cold months. Concerns are that it will become worse and the smell is toxic.

- Astoria, NY, USA

problem #3

Nov 232009

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 100,400 miles
2003 Toyota 4runner sport ed, 6 cyl.- at 100,400 miles, both my catalytic converters went out. Also the check engine light goes on which disengages the vehicle skid control, so I hear. Repairs are costly. Can't smog car on the first time car ever needs to get smogged. Seems like a recall issue to me?

- Lakeside, CA, USA

problem #2

May 012006


  • miles
I own a 2003 Toyota 4runner and have been experiencing a sulfur/rotten egg smell since I got it. It is intermittent and seems to occur most frequently upon acceleration. There have been times while driving that I get very dizzy. After researching I found there a quite a few complaints about this very problem. It seems along with the sulfur dioxide there is carbon monoxide inside the cabin, regardless if the windows are up or down. Toyota's response is that this is due to bad gas. I like my 4runner but there is no way I can drive it knowing that not only me, but my son also are being poisoned. Toyota must be held accountable and fix this immediately before someone gets seriously hurt!!!!

- Knob Noster, MO, USA

problem #1

Apr 212006

4Runner 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Foul smelling exhaust - ammonia smell - very strong on accelerations uphill or freeway on ramps.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

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